Randolph College won two debates in the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) 17th annual statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl last weekend. The event was held in Roanoke at Hollins University.
Discussing a variety of case studies highlighting ethical dilemmas, Randolph won matchups against Emory & Henry College and Hollins University, and the team lost by narrow scoring margins to Mary Baldwin College and Hampden-Sydney College. Members of the team included Grace Cummins ’16, Donald Saltmarsh-Lubin ’16, Tahan Menon ’16, Kati Biggs ’18, Igor Ngabo Rwaka ’18, and Jordann Pruitt ’19. The faculty coordinators were philosophy professor Kaija Mortensen and physics and environmental studies professor Sarah Sojka.
“The Hampden-Sydney debate was particularly noteworthy because all of the judges remarked at how very difficult it was to choose a winner, since the two teams were so evenly matched,” Mortensen said. “As it turns out, the Hampden-Sydney team won the whole Ethics Bowl, demonstrating that we were one of the top teams at the competition.”
Mortensen praised the team members for their oratory skills and the strong arguments they made during each round of competition.
“This was Kati Biggs’s first time competing in an Ethics Bowl, and her performance and confidence improved with each round,” she said. “Tahan Menon was praised by judges and other coaches alike for his strong, persuasive, and ethically impassioned oratory skills; Grace Cummins grounded the team’s arguments in careful attention to the competing human interests involved in each ethical dilemma; and Donald Saltmarsh-Lubin, the team captain, clearly articulated the ethical tension in each case and persuasively grounded the team’s primary arguments in a clear articulation of meaningful ethical principles.”
Pruitt and Rwaka traveled with the team as alternates, which Sojka said should help prepare them to compete in next year’s Ethics Bowl. “Kaija and I were both very proud of our team and their ability to compassionately and clearly articulate solutions to difficult ethical problems,” Sojka said.
Founded in 1952, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges is a nonprofit fundraising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading independent colleges in the Commonwealth: Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Richmond, Virginia Wesleyan College, and Washington & Lee University. For additional information on the VFIC, visit www.vfic.org